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On 12 August 2009, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Conventions, Her Imperial Majesty the Empress Michiko of Japan presented the 42nd Florence Nightingale Medal to Tokiko Saita (84). ICRC vice-president Christine Beerli was also present at the ceremony, which took place in Tokyo. The medal – the highest distinction that can be awarded to a nurse – recognizes exceptional courage in helping the victims of armed conflict, exemplary service and a creative and pioneering spirit in the fields of public health or education.
Ms Saita was a nurse for 47 years. In 1943, during the Second World War, she cared for the sick and injured in a Shanghai hospital. After the war she returned to Japan, where she became a pioneer in the training of nurses.
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